Federal judge rules against Native Americans’ request for Dakota Access pipeline shutdown

In recent weeks, oil and gas pipeline stories have dominated the news cycle and Americans have unfortunately experienced the chaos that typically ensues when one is even temporarily out of operation.

According to The Hill, the Dakota Access Pipeline is back in the headlines after a federal judge recently ruled against a contingent of Native American tribes who requested that the pipeline be shuttered, arguing that it poses an environmental threat by remaining in operation. 

The group of Native American tribes who attempted to have the pipeline shut down failed to meet the criteria set forth by Judge James Boasberg, who said that in order to rule in their favor, the tribes “must demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury from the action they seek to enjoin — to wit, the pipeline’s operation.”

In the ruling, Boasberg wrote that the “Plaintiffs have not cleared that daunting hurdle.”

The pipeline, which carries some 570,000 barrels per day from its North Dakota starting point, under the Missouri River to its final destination in Illinois, will now undergo a new federally-managed environmental review at a later date next year. For now, the pipeline will remain in operation.

“We believe the Dakota Access Pipeline is too dangerous to operate and should be shuttered while environmental and safety implications are studied – but despite our best efforts, today’s injunction was not granted,” Earthjustice wrote in a statement, a group that represents Standing Rock Sioux tribe in the litigation.

The pipeline, which has been a political flashpoint since its inception in 2017, is owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer LP. A number of Democrats have joined Native American tribes in opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, claiming that it wreaks havoc on the environment as well as claiming that its construction destroyed sacred artifacts.

Earlier this year, a group of 33 Democrats penned a joint letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he use executive power to shutter the pipeline, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) part of that group.

“Dakota Access has been safely operating for four years and as the events of the last few weeks have demonstrated, pipelines are the best and safest way to transport critical oil and natural gas supplies throughout the country,” the pipeline’s owner said in a statement.